California’s Tax Postponement Program Offers Relief to Seniors, the Blind and Individuals with Disabilities
For those of us who dream big, California is the state that has it all: sunshine, beaches, beautiful national parks and movie stars. It’s no wonder it’s the most populated state in the nation. But California is also home to a bevy of natural disasters including earthquakes, fires, and flooding. In response to the damage caused by these events and the resulting financial hardships they cause, State Controller Betty T. Yee has extended the deadline for homeowners to apply for the 2019-2020 Property Tax Postponement Program to June 1st.
The Property Tax Postponement Program (PTP) is available to the homeowners in 26 counties who are seniors, are blind, or have a disability. According to a KPBS article, to qualify for this program you must also “meet income, equity and other requirements to delay payment of property taxes on [your] primary residence.” The specific qualifications listed on the California State Controller’s Office website are homeowners who are:
- At least 62 years of age, or blind, or disabled.
- Have a total household income of $35,500 or less, as defined in California Revenue and Taxation Code 20503.
- Own and occupy the property as the principal place of residence.
- Have at least 40 percent equity in the property.
- Do not have a reverse mortgage on the property.
The applications for PTP are reviewed on a first come first serve basis and funding is limited. Interest on postponed taxes is 7%. If you are approved for this program KPBS states, “A lien is placed on the real property, or a security agreement filed with the Department of Housing and Community Development for a manufactured home, until the account is paid in full.”
According to the California State Controller’s Office website, payments are made directly to the county tax collector so if your property taxes are typically paid via your lender through an escrow account, you will need to contact them directly to pay any amount that’s due.
If you apply for PTP and do not qualify, you are responsible for any penalties or interest that result from late or missed property tax payments. The California State Controller’s Office suggests consulting a tax collector to help you determine the best course of action.
Repayment becomes due when the homeowner:
- Moves or sells the property
- Transfers the title
- Defaults on a senior lien
- Obtains a reverse mortgage
This program is in line with other policies, such as the Renew California Bill that was recently actioned by California policy makers and insurance companies to support California homeowners. What it all adds up to is the ability for more homeowners to remain in their homes, despite the costs associated with living in an area that regularly faces challenges from natural disasters.